President, The Lindenberger Group
Judith Lindenberger is the president of The Lindenberger Group, an award-winning human resources consulting firm. We recently spoke with Judith to hear her thoughts on how companies can improve the way they hire, train, and treat new employees, as well as how newly-hired employees can get the most out of their employment experience.
Tell us a bit about your background. Why did you decide to create The Lindenberger Group?
I have an MBA in Human Resources and spent twenty years working for the federal government, two Fortune 500 companies, and a nonprofit. I had always thought about starting my own business; and when my interim job at the nonprofit ended, it was time.
Generally speaking, what are today's companies looking for when hiring entry-level employees?
First, competence to do the job. Then there has to be agreement about salary. But what clinches it is having traits like integrity, interpersonal savvy, initiative, and follow-through.
When it comes to hiring and training entry-level workers, what are some of the common shortcomings that today's employers tend to have?
Employers tend to wing it when hiring. Job interviews should be planned with each candidate being asked the same series of questions, all of which are tied to key competencies. The same is true with onboarding; many companies wing it. Small things, like having the new employee's desk set up, arranging lunch the first day with coworkers, and providing the new employee with a job description make a big difference in helping the new hire feel welcome.
How should a company go about identifying job candidates who are more likely to seamlessly integrate into the organization's culture?
By asking behavioral interview questions that are tied to the competencies related to success at your organization.
Should a new employee begin his or her search for a company mentor almost immediately after being hired? Or should the employee wait a certain amount of time and get to know his or her colleagues a little better?
I recommend waiting until you know what it is that you want to learn from a mentor. Once you have a smart goal in mind, then find a mentor who is willing and able to teach you.
If an entry-level employee has managerial aspirations at his or her company, what is the first step that he or she should take?
Let his or her manager know and ask what he or she needs to learn and do in order to be considered for a managerial job. Volunteer to take on assignments which require teamwork and coordination skills. Seek out a mentor to learn how he or she moved up the ladder in the company. Read books and take courses on leadership.
Regarding recent college graduates, what types of issues relating to sexual harassment and workplace behavior do they generally struggle the most with?
Most recent college graduates are aware of the laws on sexual harassment and inappropriate workplace behavior. That's why they can be surprised if it happens to them. I recommend that they protect their safety first, and if possible be assertive and professional to set boundaries. If that does not work, they should tell a manager or someone in human resources.
Given that millennials now make up the largest portion of the U.S. population, what are the ramifications for HR specialists and departments going forward?
Millennials seek constant feedback and want mentors. As a result, companies should restructure performance appraisal systems so that feedback is given often. They should also provide millennials with the opportunity to have flexible and remote work schedules. Finally, millennials should be given the opportunity to participate in volunteer community projects.
Millennials seek constant feedback and want mentors. As a result, companies should restructure performance appraisal systems so that feedback is given often.
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